teamLab Athletics Forest

Three-dimensional thinking using the body


・The body is stationary in school


At school, students must take tests alone while sitting quietly in a seat. As symbolized by this example, knowledge has entailed using the brain while keeping the body stationary and limiting the amount of information. If the problem is “1+1=,” the amount of information is several bytes. In other words, the state of processing information of extremely small amounts, such as language and mathematics, while disregarding the body is called knowledge and has been taught in school. However, if we take a quick look around ourselves, it is clear that the world is comprised of an immense amount of information.


・The ability to connect with people and the world


There are many phrases, such as social skills, leadership, communication skills, the ability to sense the mood, and the ability to be liked by others, that all refer to the ability to connect with people and the world. This ability involves extremely intellectual activities that require processing an enormous amount of spatial information that is constantly changing, such as the expressions and attitudes of the people surrounding you and the situation seen when looking around you. Also, these activities represent a set of intellectual activities that are very different from intelligence used toward a miniscule amount of information with the body in place, as is the case with studying in school.


・Humans capture the world with their bodies and think with their bodies


Creating and telling stories that move people is not something that can be achieved only through repeating training to write compositions correctly. These stories are spun out through the experiences that are cultivated while exploring the world with your own body.

Humans capture the world with their bodies and think with their bodies.


・The body is a massive information network


In actuality, in addition to the brain instructing the body, it becomes clear that the body is a massive information network in which various organs and cells inside the body are performing dynamic exchanges of information. For example, we are beginning to understand that the muscles and bones that move the body are developing the hippocampus (the part of the brain related to memory and spatial awareness) and instructing the hippocampus to form memories.


・Spatial awareness is just as important as linguistic and mathematical abilities


In recent years, it is being said that spatial awareness, which is the ability to understand the spatial relations between objects and store them in memory, is just as important as linguistic and mathematical abilities. Spatial awareness is thought to play an important role in creativity and innovation.

Also, we are beginning to understand that the hippocampus, which is related to spatial awareness, develops through exploring and walking around varied and complex spaces with your own body. In an experiment with mice, the hippocampi of mice who explored varied and complex spaces had 40,000 times as many nerve cells as the mice who did not, the volume of the hippocampi increased by 15%, and the mice had higher spatial awareness. However, children in the modern age have not been able to play freely outside. According to one study, the time that children in the United States play freely has reduced by 25% from 1981 to 1997.*


*Science Magazine in the United States “Nautilus” For Kids, Learning Is Moving 


・Three-dimensional thinking


Spatial awareness does not only involve space. It is thought that spatial awareness leads to the ability to capture the world three-dimensionally and think of things three-dimensionally. We call this three-dimensional thinking, and higher-dimensional thinking refers to thinking on an even higher dimension.


・Egg yolk can be extracted without breaking the shell of the egg


 

Is it possible to extract egg yolk without breaking the shell of the egg?

We tend to believe that we cannot extract the yolk without cracking the egg. That is because we are thinking in three dimensions. However, if we think in four dimensions, the yolk can be extracted without cracking the egg. This cannot be imagined by us, as we live in three-dimensional space.

 

As this is difficult, we should now think of a fried egg as a flat, two-dimensional object. In the three-dimensional world that we inhabit, we can extract the yolk of the fried egg from above, so we can easily extract the yolk without breaking the egg white. However, in a flat, two-dimensional world, there is no space, and we would exist on the same flat plane as the white egg. Therefore, as we would need to pass the same plane as the fried egg to extract the yolk, so we would need to break the egg white to extract the yolk.


 


As demonstrated, thinking two-dimensionally and thinking three-dimensionally are literally on different levels. Being on different levels means that how things are seen and thought of, along with methods of resolution, are completely different.


・Cities are surrounded by flat planes, and paper, books, TVs and smartphones are also flat planes


In nature, such as in forests and on mountains, there are no flat planes, and the landscape is complex and three-dimensional. Humans were aware of three-dimensional spaces with their bodies. However, in the city, there are only flat planes. Further, paper, books, TVs, and smartphones are also flat planes. Without realizing it, we are abandoning our bodies and becoming aware of the world two-dimensionally with our minds only. If we are aware of the world two-dimensionally, our thoughts become two-dimensional. For example, if the company that you work for has a diagram called an organization chart, your organization is two-dimensional, and almost obviously, two-dimensional thinking is prevalent in your organization.


・Three-dimensional and higher-dimensional thinking using the body


Humans capture the world with their bodies and think with their bodies. While exploring a complex, three-dimensional world with their own bodies, humans capture the world three-dimensionally with their bodies, and their thoughts become three-dimensional. We think this way. As we want to enhance three-dimensional and higher-dimensional thinking using the body, we started the “teamLab Athletics: the Forest of Exercise” project.